NISG says ‘you matter’



Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) is putting on a mental health awareness week titled, “You Matter at UNI.” Various events from Oct. 24 through Oct. 28 will work to make students feel valued


Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 18-34, according to the Center for Disease Control’s population study in 2015. Students at UNI are, unfortunately, not immune to this.

The week of October 24 through the 28 is being dedicated to student’s mental health at UNI and will be called “You Matter at UNI.”

According to Sara Goodman, a freshman global marketing major and NISG senator for the college of business administration, the idea for You Matter at UNI branched from Hunter Flesch’s and Avery Johnson’s campaign for student body president. “Students [were asked] what changes they wanted to see around campus and it was clear that this was a need,” Goodman said.   Students can visit the Campanile Plaza and Lawther Field from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 24 where organizations like Active Minds and To Write Love On Her Arms (TWOHLA) will have information booths on how students can receive help with a mental heath issue, according to the schedule of events created by Flesch.Each of the following days are specified to certain mental health issues affects college students. The topics include depression, anxiety and dealing with stress.

The week provides students with information on what to do for themselves as well as what to do if a friend is experiencing a hardship.

Tuesday, Oct. 25 is Friend to Friend Training. UNI counselors will discuss the identifying signs of depression and  anxiety, and what students should and should not say to help the person in need.

The following day, depression screenings will be available. Students will be informed on how to set up an appointment with the counselors and what counseling can look like for them. Secret Regrets will also take place on Wednesday, which is a program held by The National Alliance on Mental Illness about letting go of regrets.

The events are not exclusively educational; each day, students participate in activities that will allow them to discuss some issues they may be having or what to do if future issues arise. The Student Wellness Services is involved within the week as well.

“Our main involvement is through organizing the De-Stress Day, which will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Rod Library on Thursday, October 27,” said Shawna Haislet, Health Promotion Coordinator for Student Wellness Services. The De-Stress Days will include small activities for students to relax throughout their day, including coloring crafts, PlayDough, Walk the Labyrinth and #ThrowlightUNI messages for students to take with them as a personal positive momento.

A mental health panel will take place in Seerley 115 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday evening, with an emphasis on sharing mental health experiences and answering questions about mental health concerns.

To conclude the week on Friday, Rod Library is holding giveaways and recognition to the student organizations, leaders and faculty that contributed to the week. Let’s Talk Sessions will also be held in the library on Friday in rooms 311 and 312 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m for students to have small, informal meetings with a counselor about any concerns or issues they want to share.

The goal of mental health week is to bring awareness to students regarding how to receive help when needed. Through this week-long process, the organizations involved plan to help as many students as possible understand that they are not alone.

“I chose to be a part of [You Matter UNI] because I truly believe it’s an important thing to raise awareness for,” said Goodman. “I think there are so many students who feel in the dark about mental health, and we are just trying to shed some light.”

For those interested in more information on mental health week or any mental health related information, contact Hunter Flesch at [email protected], visit the Student Health Center’s website or call the Student Health Center at  (319) 273-2009.